Modern car keys can be expensive to make. This is because they have built-in security chips or transponders that a locksmith must program into your vehicle.
This is a cost that can quickly add up, especially for those who regularly lose their keys. That’s why it pays to prepare ahead by making a spare.
Cost of Key Cutting
In the past, our car keys tended to disappear inside coat pockets or beneath couch cushions. But this was never a big deal, as you could get a replacement key at a hardware store or locksmith for a low price.
Now, thanks to advances in car security technology, it can be much more difficult for thieves to steal a vehicle. However, it’s also more expensive for owners to replace and reprogram a lost or damaged key fob.
However, purchasing a key duplication machine is unlikely to make financial sense. You would need to cut hundreds of keys each year to break even on the initial investment. Also, it is important to know that there are different types of car keys, such as basic and laser cut. Some of them have Transponder keys service.
Cost of Key Programming
Many newer cars have transponder chips in their keys that need to be programmed by a locksmith or dealership. These chips have unique FCC IDs that must match the car to work properly. This is one reason why key programming can be more expensive than copying a traditional key.
This service is also more complicated than standard key duplication, as a professional will need to get into the vehicle to program the key. This means they will need to open the door, or even the trunk, depending on the vehicle. In some cases, a locksmith may need to re-program the key if it doesn’t work properly on the first attempt.
Another factor that affects the cost of key programming is the year, make, and model of the vehicle. Most locksmiths will ask for the year, make, and model to ensure they have the right tools for your vehicle. This will prevent you from having to pay extra fees for a key that isn’t compatible with your vehicle.
Cost of Key Duplication
The cost of key duplication depends on the type of key and the service provider. Hardware and home improvement stores typically offer the lowest rates, while locksmiths charge more because of their materials and expertise.
Keys that require a chip to function are the most expensive to copy. These keys are programmed by using a special key reader that transmits a signal to the car’s computer when the key is inserted into the ignition. If the signal is incorrect, the engine will not start.
However, some automotive dealerships can duplicate these types of keys for much less. This is because they have a larger selection of car keys and the necessary equipment to program them.
Cost of Key Replacement
When a key is lost or damaged, it may need to be replaced or duplicated. This can be a complicated process and will often require an automotive locksmith or dealership. It’s important to know the cost of these services so you can budget accordingly.
Basic metal keys without transponder chips are the cheapest to replace. Many hardware, home improvement, and big-box stores have the equipment to make these types of keys.
Modern automobile keys with integrated security chips are more expensive to replace. These have a more complex design and need to be programmed to work properly. They are typically more expensive to replace at the dealership, but can also be done by a professional locksmiths.
Another type of car key that requires a special device to program is a laser-cut key. These are thicker than traditional keys and have no conventional grooves cut into them. These keys can be laser cut by a locksmith, but they are more expensive than traditional ones and need to be programmed differently.